In our world today we see so little of true submission. We live in a day and time where the prevailing thought is both individualistic and assertive. We have been steeped in the thought of, “Do your own thing.” The world boldly proclaims, “Look out for number one!” In the “me” society in which we live, we see so many who spend all of their time, energy, and money seeking only after things for themselves, exalting themselves, asserting themselves, and demanding their “rights.” And though we may see the error of their way, we, too, must be very careful that we are not drawn into that worldly thought.
Biblical submission stands opposed to all that the world proclaims. Biblical submission understands that it is God who has ordained all authority. For there is no power (authority) but of God. Authority is ordained of God. Therefore, whoever resists authority, resists the ordinance of God (Romans 13:1-2). Biblical submission declares that because the Lord has set in place authority, we must submit ourselves to that authority if we are to be in submission to our Lord.
Let us remind ourselves of the meaning of the word submission. Sometimes translated as submit yourselves, sometimes translated as subject yourselves, and sometimes translated as obedience, the Biblical word for submission is hupotasso in the Greek. The literal translation means: to arrange oneself under; to place oneself under in an orderly fashion; to appoint oneself under; to ordain oneself under. The word is from the root word tasso, meaning to appoint; to ordain; to arrange. The prefix hupo has the meaning under, hence the combined meaning of hupotasso is: to arrange under or to appoint under.
Now let’s look at the Greek word for resist (antitasso). Interestingly, this word is formed from the same root as hupotasso. But notice carefully the prefix – anti, which means against. Therefore, the meaning of resist is: to arrange oneself against. Can you see the contrast between the two – to arrange under (hupotasso) and to arrange against (antitasso)?
Now let’s refer to the Scriptures: For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God (Romans 13:1-2).
Now for a final thought – Do not miss the fullness of the truth of the Word of God. If one resists the authority that God has established, she resists the ordinance of God. The word ordinance is diatage in the Greek, and is the noun form of the word diatasso. Did you catch the root of the word? The prefix dia means: through, thoroughly, or completely. This prefix is combined with the root tasso, again meaning to ordain, to arrange, to appoint. God has thoroughly and completely arranged the authority that is to be over each individual. When someone resists that authority, she resists God’s order, God’s arrangement, God’s appointment.
If indeed there is no authority but of God, and all authority is ordained of God, when we resist that authority, we resist God Himself. What a hopeless state in which to be!
We find this Biblical truth: Yea, all of you be subject (hupotasso) one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5). Yes, God resisteth (antitasso) the proud. God’s Word says that He arranges Himself against the proud!
But how wonderfully we find this truth: He gives grace to the humble.
May we not find ourselves resisting the Lord Himself.
May we humble ourselves and arrange ourselves under the authority which God has ordained over us, for it is there where we find the preciousness of His grace!
Take time to reflect upon these truths and these questions:
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers … (Romans 13:1). Will you submit or will you resist? Will you arrange yourself under or will you arrange yourself against?
Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder … (1 Peter 5:5). Will you submit or will you resist? Will you arrange yourself under or will you arrange yourself against?
Servants … be subject to your masters … (1 Peter 2:18). Will you submit or will you resist? Will you arrange yourself under or will you arrange yourself against?
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord (Ephesians 5:22). Will you submit or will you resist? Will you arrange yourself under or will you arrange yourself against?
There are only two responses to the authority that God has ordained. One will either submit or she will resist. She will either arrange herself under that authority or she will arrange herself against God.
Lord, help us seek to do those things that are pleasing to You!